American Atheists revealed details on Wednesday about its 2014 national convention in Salt Lake City, announcing that speakers will include NFL Raiders punter Chris Kluwe, Survivor®: Philippines winner and sex therapist Denise Stapley, and Grammy®-nominated Spin Doctors bass player Mark White. The convention will also feature an art show, workshops, childcare, and a comedy show the weekend of April 17-20.
“We’re thrilled to bring so many great nontheists to our convention—some of whom have never addressed our movement before,” said American Atheists President David Silverman. “This is our 40th annual convention and it’s going to be stellar.”
Early bird tickets will go on sale Wednesday, August 7 on the American Atheists website at www.atheists.org. The convention will take place at the Hilton Salt Lake Center hotel & convention center in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah.
Salt Lake City is famous for being the seat of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormon church. American Atheists chose Salt Lake City in order to better reach out to the sizable ex-Mormon population there.
“We want ex-Mormons to know that there is this entire community of people here for them,” said Public Relations Director Dave Muscato. “Often when people leave the Mormon church, they continue to base their identity in it because they don’t know any other community they can identify with. The 2014 American Atheists National Convention will be the place where ex-Mormons know that it’s okay to take that step and start saying, ‘I am an atheist.’”
Other speakers include the Reverend Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Maryam Namazie, Matt Dillahunty, Greta Christina, PZ Myers, Marsha Botzer of the Ingersoll Gender Center, Faisal Saeed al Mutar, Sikivu Hutchinson, Brian Keith Dalton also known as Mr. Deity, and Vickie Garrison.
Chris Kluwe, whom the New York Times called “The Most Interesting Man in the NFL,” is also a gaming enthusiast, author, LGBTQ equality activist, and musician. His book, Beautiful Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities, features personal essays about religion and the Pope, his family, guns, and many other topics.
Denise Stapley is the $1,000,000 grand prize winner of the 2012 CBS show Survivor®: Philippines. She is also a sex therapist and lives with her husband and 9-year-old daughter in Iowa.
Mark White is the bassist of the Grammy®-nominated alternative rock band Spin Doctors, known for their hits “Two Princes” and “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong.” He lives in Houston, Texas where he also teaches music privately.
I’m especially happy that they’re reaching out for speakers who aren’t on the usual roster of known atheists (although the ones they’ve got are good, no complaints there!). This is how we grow. I’ll be especially interested to hear Chris Kluwe talk.